An Adaptive Middleware for Improved Computational Performance

Research output: Book/ReportPh.D. thesis – Annual report year: 2016Research

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The performance improvements in computer systems over the past 60 years have been fueled by an exponential increase in energy efficiency. In recent years, the phenomenon known as the end of Dennard’s scaling has slowed energy efficiency improvements — but improving computer energy efficiency is more important now than ever. Traditionally, most improvements in computer energy efficiency have come from improvements in lithography — the ability to produce smaller transistors — and computer architecture - the ability to apply those transistors efficiently. Since the end of scaling, we have seen diminishing returns from developments in lithography and modern computer architectures are so complicated requiring significant programming effort to exploit efficiently —software developers undertaking such a task will need all the help they can get, in order to keep the programming effort down.

In this thesis we champion using software to improve energy efficiency — in particular we develop guidelines for reasoning and evaluating software performance on modern computers, and a middleware that has been designed for modern computers, improving computational performance both in terms of energy and execution time. Our middleware consists of a new power manager, synchronization libraries using hardware transactional memory (for locks, barriers, and task synchronization), and two concurrent map data structures, which can be deployed in computer systems with little to no effort. At a fundamental level, we are improving computational performance by exploiting modern hardware features, such as dynamic voltage-frequency scaling and transactional memory. Adapting software is an iterative process, requiring that we continually revisit it to meet new requirements or realities; a time consuming process which we hope to simplify by analyzing the realities of modern computers, and providing guidelines explaining how to get the most performance out of them.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationKgs. Lyngby
PublisherTechnical University of Denmark (DTU)
Number of pages134
Publication statusPublished - 2016
SeriesDTU Compute PHD-2015
Number390
ISSN0909-3192

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